1:06pm: The Mariners have announced the trade. To make room for Murphy on the 25-man roster, Freitas has indeed been optioned to Triple-A Tacoma.
12:55pm: The Mariners will send minor league righty Jesus Ozoria to the Giants in return for Murphy, according to Greg Johns of MLB.com. The 20-year-old Ozoria has yet to pitch above Rookie ball but logged 49 1/3 innings of 2.19 ERA ball there last season. Ozoria turned in a brilliant 59-to-7 K/BB ratio in that time and paired it with a 39.3 percent grounder rate. He’s a long way from MLB readiness but seemingly adds a live arm to the lower levels of the organization. The long-term question will be one of whether Ozoria carries more value than righty Merandy Gonzalez, whom the Giants designated for assignment when claiming Murphy; the move, in essence, swaps those two pitchers out while also clearing a spot on the Giants’ 40-man roster.
7:20am: The Mariners have reached a deal to acquire catcher Tom Murphy from the Giants, reports MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter). San Francisco claimed the out-of-options Murphy from the Rockies earlier this week but did not carry him on the Opening Day roster, ultimately designating him for assignment just days after initially claiming him. Seattle has an open 40-man roster spot, so a corresponding move isn’t a necessity.
Currently, Omar Narvaez and David Freitas are the only catchers on Seattle’s 40-man roster, so Murphy figures to supplant Freitas as the primary backup/platoon partner for Narvaez. Freitas has options remaining and can freely be sent to Triple-A without first being placed on waivers.
Murphy, 28 next week, was once considered to be among the game’s top catching prospects but hasn’t produced at the plate in limited Major League opportunities across the past couple of seasons (.188/.221/.325 in 122 plate appearances). The Rockies, who owe veteran Chris Iannetta nearly $5MM through contract’s end, opted for a more defensive-minded second catcher in Tony Wolters when they cut Murphy loose.
Murphy, however, isn’t a poor defender by most measures. He sports average caught-stealing rates in both the Majors and minors throughout his career, and while he’s not a standout in terms of pitch framing, he’s been a bit above average in that regard over the past three seasons combined. At the plate, Murphy raked at a .266/.341/.608 clip through his first 88 plate appearances from 2015-16. He has a career .286/.335/.567 batting line across 875 Triple-A plate appearances, including a .258/.333/.568 slash in 264 PAs a year ago.